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Alex Salmond: Voting system stopped second SNP majority

The former First Minister says he would adopt a national rather than regional list.

Alex Salmond: The former SNP leader is in favour of changing the voting system for Holyrood.
Alex Salmond: The former SNP leader is in favour of changing the voting system for Holyrood. Ian West / PA Wire/PA Images / Cropped

The SNP failed to win a second majority due to the voting system, Alex Salmond has claimed.

Speaking on his weekly radio show on LBC, the former SNP leader said the regional list was the reason for his party's failure to secure a second majority government.

A party must win 65 seats for a majority but the SNP won 63 despite increasing their constituency vote from 2011, when they secured 69 seats.

When asked why the SNP won only a minority Salmond said: "The D'Hondt regional list system. I won a majority on 45% of the vote five years ago and Nicola did not win a majority on 47% of the vote, which is quite astonishing - remarkable."

He added: "The D'Hondt list system has lots of peculiarities and the peculiarity basically is that the list isn't just topping up the first vote, the list rebalances the first vote.

"So you can get yourself into a situation if you cut it unlucky that you lose a range of list seats despite the fact you are topping the list vote by a very small margin in votes."

Salmond, who was First Minister from 2007 to 2014, said he would scrap the constituency vote and replace it with one national list vote.

He said: "I like a list system; I think a list system is perfectly fair. I think it should be a national list instead of a regional list. You cut out some of the small variations if you do that.

"And, secondly, I think there should be just one vote and you should allocate the list based on the percentage vote given in the single vote as I think the second vote lends itself, and it is a perfectly fair thing for political parties to do, to a reinterpretation of what it is for.

"In other words, the Green campaign for example in the Scottish Parliament was to say 'look the SNP are going to win out the park in the constituencies you can afford to vote for the Green Party in the list'.

"That is fair in politics but a political system that lends it to that is vulnerable to misrepresent the vote."

The Scottish Conservatives said his support for electoral reform comes only because the SNP won only a minority of seats.

A party spokesperson said: "Alex Salmond seemed perfectly happy with the voting system when it delivered him a majority government in 2011. And he didn't seem to mind in 2007 when it secured him the role of First Minister.

"But now everything hasn't gone the SNP's way, he suddenly wants to make sweeping changes, and people will see straight through that."​

Scottish Labour said the people of Scotland "refused to give the SNP another majority" last week.

A party spokesperson said:"Whatever else they did last week the people of Scotland refused to give the SNP another majority. That means the SNP must now cooperate with other parties in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP must now decide whether they will work with the Tories or whether they will work with centre-left parties like Labour to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop the cuts and invest in the future of our economy."

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